Saturday, 25 April 2020

History of the South-East, Part 3: A Consolidation of Power

“Achilles glared at him and answered, "Fool, prate not to me about covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out and through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall.”
Homer, The Iliad

A Beacon of All That is Good and Just
The Flanaess had passed into the hands of the Oeridians, or should I say the Aerdi, for it was they who conquered the land, they who ruled it. And it would be their triumphs and tragedies that would set the stage for what would come. It is said that theirs' was a Good and Just empire, a shining beacon of what may be, but that history was written by the Aerdi; for in truth, empires are built upon the backs of the conquered, and that cruelty and suppression are their bricks and mortar. Building an empire is hard; retaining one is harder still. Luckily for the Aerdi, they had tools at their disposal.

1 CY       With his Declaration of Universal Peace, the first Overking was crowned in Rauxes.
The Aerdy calendar dates from the crowning of the first overking, Nasran of the House of Cranden, in Rauxes in CY 1. Proclaiming universal peace, Nasran saw defeated Suloise and Flan—rebellious humanoid rabbles of no consequence and no threat to the vast might of Aerdy. [Ivid - 3]

But for all his well-meaning words, all power was to be his, and all Houses were to bend the knee to his magnificence.
However, it quickly became clear to all the noble houses of the Aerdi that power in the Great Kingdom was being centralized in the hands of the rulers of Rauxes, and that the fortunes of the Great Kingdom would now rest with them. The needs and intrigues of the Celestial Houses would soon become subordinate to the politics of the Malachite Throne. [LGG - 23]

Frontiers of Great Kingdom reach Greyhawk City. The writ of the Overking of Imperial Aerdi extended to Furyon and Voll (now Veluna), across the northern prairies as far as Perrenland. For three centuries the Aerdy held a vast empire which fluctuated in extent but little, until after the third Celestial House (dynasty) when the borders began to close in upon the original territory of the Aerdi. [Folio - 5]

11 CY     The Flan continued to be pacified. Theirs was a futile struggle, as the lands of their dominion shrank and shrank, they retreated into high valleys and the northern barrens. But still they fought where such resistance could be gathered. Until they threw all their remaining might into one last stand at Arrowstrand against the ever waxing Aerdian Kingdom. They were brave. They were valiant. But fate was against them that day, and they fell. But their fall was glorious. [Ivid]

12 CY     Onnwal under heel, the Kingdom needed a port from which it could secure the Gearnat Strait, Relmor Bay to the east, and the Sea of Gearnat and Woolly Bay to the west, and thus lend safety and security to all who might sail with so it set about constructing Scant.
The peninsula was awarded as a fief to the herzog of South Province, who constructed the port of Scant in 12 CY to facilitate its colonization by the Aerdi. The port also served as a means by which to share Onnwal's resources, particularly the silver and platinum being drawn out the hills, with the markets of Prymp and Chathold. The szeks of Onnwal who administered the land were originally appointed by the herzog in Zelradton and were usually favored members of his court. [LGG - 80]

75 CY     Great Houses wax and wane. Sometimes they even cease to exist, as is the case if there is no heir left to carry on its name. House Crandon suffered such a fate.
Formidable Beauty
The ruling house of Aerdy became the Rax-Nyrond House after the death of Nasran's grandson, Tenmeris, in CY 75. Tenmeris's Queen, Yalranda, was a formidable diplomat and mediator who had done much to support her husband and was the true power behind the throne. Tenmeris, it was said, had a brain as small as his flatulent belly was vast.
Yalranda was accepted as the only overqueen in Aerdy history because of her prowess in establishing dynastic marriages between the royal houses of Aerdy and her uncanny gift for forging alliances (and because of her strange, magical allure and ability to calm angry or confused nobles). That she died young, at age 40, is one of Aerdy's great tragedies. [Ivid - 3]
Her eldest son, Manshen, broke with tradition and took the name of the [Rax-Nyrond] Royal House. This house was to rule for nearly 400 years. [Ivid - 3]
Historians consider that the relative peace which existed between Aerdi royal houses for centuries is largely due to his wisdom building upon the informal understandings developed by Yalranda. [Ivid - 7]

Why would they think so? One would imagine the credit for the centuries of peace that followed should have been laid at the feet of Manshen; but Manshen, for all his diplomatic skill, and marshal success, was not one of Johydee’s Children.
In the history of Aerdy, a handful of these gifted and strange people have played crucial roles. Queen Yalranda is said to have possessed precognitive powers which marked her as one of the Children. [Ivid - 7]

Johydee's Children is the name bestowed upon very, very rare Aerdi individuals of exceptional magical gifts. The name is given for two reasons, not because the individuals concerned are literally descended from Johydee. First, Queen Johydee of pre-Devastation history was a priestess of great magical prowess, favored by the gods themselves. Second, Johydee is known for her famed artifact, the mask, which allowed her to resist many forms of magic and to take on the appearance of anyone she chose.
Johydee's Children are strange, otherworldly people. Either they are wholly aloof, without any apparent emotion, or else they seem to live in a spiritual world which raises them far above the cares and feelings of ordinary folk. Either way, those who know them come to think of them as masked, inscrutable, impossible to "read." The Children are loners, never understood by others. [Ivid - 7]

The Great Hall of The Great Kingdom
98 CY     The Great Kingdom was vast and powerful. As powerful as the Suel Imperium? Not likely. As vast? That is debateable. It was certainly not as long lived. But it did conquer and consolidate the lands east of the Nyr Dyv, and at its height it stretched from the Solnor to the Yatels, from the Barrens to the Azure. Neither the Flan nor the Suel could stand against its expansion, for it had artifacts of power at its disposal: Lum the Mad’s Machine, Leuk-O’s Mighty Servant, and the Crown, the Orb and the Scepter of Might. It wielded the Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless. But did the Aerdi create these artifacts? No. Surely not. The Suel did. And if the Suel did not, the Oeridians surely took with them the means of their creation with them when they took flight. For the Suel had centuries to delve the mysteries of power and the art of artifice, and the Aerdi had but centuries since their flight from bondage.
            What else did the Aerdi wield? Dragons. Against which the nomadic and agrarian Flan, and the unestablished refugees of the Suel, had little hope of defending against.
            How do I know this? Because they are known to have at least one of the Orbs of Dragonkind. It was the least of them, for sure, and there is no record of their having another in their possession, but is was far more than either the Flan or the Suel had in theirs.      

The Orbs of Dragonkind
Excerpts from a letter from Otto to Johanna:
Oerth, it is well known, has its own Orbs of Dragonkind, but their oral and written history is poorly known even to the learned. Sages have long suspected a connection between these orbs and the long-lost Suel Imperium […]), dead just over ten centuries. [Dragon #230 - 9]

In the ancient days of the maturing Suloise Empire, starting about -2400 CY, a great series of wars was fought between the emperor’s forces and the various monsters that populated the southern Crystalmist Mountains, what we now call the Hellfurnaces. The emperor, Inzhilem II of the House of Neheli-Arztin, […] the fifth such among the Suloise to be known as a Mage of Power […], wished to establish mines deep within the Crystalmists to harvest rare minerals and crystals for his personal research, though he also [wished to throw] back some of the humanoid and draconic monsters that periodically raided the eastern provinces of his empire and reduced their taxable resources.
Imperial armies, even supported by military wizardry, found themselves hard pressed by their opposition. The great families of red dragons throughout the southern Crystalmists had enslaved Iimitless numbers of brutish humanoids for use as sword-fodder, originally to attack one another’s territories or bring in additional treasures. These armies of orcs and goblinkind were now turned upon the empire’s soldiers, hurling themselves into battle with great ferocity and in numbers that well made up for their lack of skill or foresight.
In addition, these dragons were exceedingly skilled at magic; baneful extraplanar powers supplied them with secret knowledge of spellcasting in return for great sacrifices of wealth. Worse yet, certain of those red dragons had undergone sorcerous rituals that infused their living bodies with shadowstuff from the Demiplane of Shadow, granting them new and devastating powers. These were the first of the accursed shadow dragons, and they and their servants built a vast network of caverns, halls, and tunnels beneath the Crystalmists that exists even to this day. Even the great Vault of the Drow is said by some sources once to have been the cavern-hall of an elder shadow dragon of this bygone age, some treasures of which may still lie hidden thereabouts. (The gods grant us that these treasures yet remain undiscovered by the drow! [)]
Facing such evil strength, the army commanders sent word to lnzhilem that the issue was in doubt, and they asked for his personal intervention. Angered at first that his armies could do no more than hold their own against mere dragons and orcs, lnzhilem quickly became intrigued by the difficult problem posed by the Fiery Kings, as the troublesome dragons were known in the eastern lands. He returned to the capital to remedy the situation.
[…] Inzhilem called upon and gained the direct assistance of the Suel deity Wee Jas herself, [and] lnzhilem gained sufficient knowledge to produce a solution.
The emperor elected to construct a limited number of identical artifacts that would give his forces the ability to confront and destroy the Fiery Kings. Knowing the great importance that dragons attach to direct eye contact, which among the most paranoid and wicked of them is regarded as a challenge resulting in an immediate fight to the death, lnzhilem set upon the orb as the ideal form for these surpassing devices. Each orb would be carried into battle by a war-trained wizard and used to subdue, assault, or defend against all dragons present, while a group of elite soldiers and battle-priests who accompanied the wizard would move swiftly to finish off the draconic foes; this group would accompany a regular army, which would carry the battle to the dragon’s humanoid supporters. […]
Furthermore, lnzhilem planned that each orb would be useful against every sort of evil dragon known, not merely against the red and shadow varieties. To accomplish this, lnzhilem was forced to have his entire collection of caged and charmed dragons in the capital gardens slain by sorcerous means. A portion of the blood, bone, brain, and spirit of each dragon was captured and imprisoned in each orb, though the orbs themselves were not meant to contain true intelligence as such. So strong were the enchantments with which lnzhilem hoped to fill the orbs that rumors flew that every cruel dragon on Oerth would fall prey to them, and the evil races of dragonkind would be wholly exterminated and cast into myth.
It was calculated that eight orbs would be enough to deal with matters in the east. […] lnzhilem secretly directed the Imperial Congress about the year -2360 CY to produce such wizards as would be necessary to assist him in the mighty enchantments that would have to be cast. [History] fails to reveal all that followed, but one major event in the following years has survived for the telling. A smoldering feud within the House of Neheli-Arztin flared into violence in -2354 CY, and lnzhilem II was slain and destroyed beyond recovery before the struggle had ended. The partial house of Arztin ceased to exist as a result of retaliation, and the victorious partial house of Neheli kept the throne. Ubrond Thrideen (“Third-Eye”) became emperor.
A devoted but unremarkable ruler, Ubrond apparently continued the project to produce the orbs and saw it through to its finish, but considerable interference took place and the original plan for the project went inexplicably awry. Eight orbs were still made (the date of their completion has been lost, but it was after -2350 CY), but the orbs were now of differing sizes and powers, each oriented toward the control of dragons of differing ages. The reason for this alteration has never been made clear, as it certainly reduced the effectiveness of these orbs when used in battle against dragons of ages older than allowed for by any one orb.
This alteration was not the only one made, and certainly some of these alterations were performed without the knowledge or approval of the emperor or his staff. [The] Fiery Kings were able to insinuate agents among the wizards involved in the project, and without Inzhilem’s ability to grasp the full scope of the work and oversee the critical details, errors and even curses were worked into many of the final products. It is clearly known, for instance, that each Orb of Dragonkind possesses a malign, innate intelligence that attempts to overwhelm and destroy any user. Furthermore, each orb was given the power to affect good and neutral dragons as well as evil ones — an obvious addition by the fiery kings.
Once finished, the eight orbs were given names corresponding to the age level of the dragons they were meant to fight. In order from the smallest orb up, they were the Orb of the Hatchling, the Orb of the Wyrmkin, the Orb of the Dragonette, the Orb of the Dragon, the Orb of the Great Serpent, the Orb of the Firedrake, the Orb of the Elder Wyrm, and the Orb of the Eternal Grand Dragon. When not activated, each orb was a light, solid sphere of purest white jade, completely and elaborately carved with the entwined figures of dragons in battle with one another. None of these orbs could be damaged in the least by mundane forces, nor could any beast or animated construct bring them harm. If there were any means developed for their destruction, they have long been lost.
[These] orbs were delivered to the Suloise armies and brought into combat with the Fiery Kings, but there is a break in the historical record here. A curious fragment exists that appears to be a message from a provincial lord to the emperor — whose name is not given — asking for the latter’s intervention to “deliver us from those who hold the stolen Globe.” Considerable strife between army commanders is also noted in some dispatches from the eastern provinces, with several references to a renegade officer, apparently mad, who called himself the King of the Fire Kings. It is apparent that one or more of the orbs either fell into enemy hands, was seized as part of a coup, or possessed a power or curse that led its user into insanity or rebellion.
[Only] five of the orbs remained in the hands of the Suel until the time just before the Rain of Colorless Fire [:] the Orb of the Hatchling, the Orb of the Dragonette, the Orb of the Dragon, the Great Firedrake’s Orb, and the Orb of the Elder Worm. [Three] had been lost or fallen into the hands of the enemies of the Suel in the empire’s last days. [...] Despite the slight renaming of some of the orbs in late-empire records, […] the missing original orbs [were] the Orb of the Wyrmkin, the Orb of the Great Serpent, and the most powerful of them all, the Orb of the Eternal Grand Dragon.
After the Rain of Colorless Fire, the historical record is dotted with appearances of these orbs, but very rarely is the exact identity of each orb known for certain. Obviously, most or all of the orbs were transported out of the empire before it was burnt into ashes. One orb, a small one said to be the size of a man’s fist, was held in Rauxes by the Overkings in the youthful days of Aerdy, until it was stolen after two centuries by unknown thieves.

Orb of the Hatchling
This, the least of the eight orbs, is three inches across and easily fits into a pouch or pocket. As this orb was used in public by the early Aerdy Overkings upon small captive dragons, its powers are clearly established for anyone who researches the matter.
This orb, like ail of its kind, confers upon the one who holds it the ability to converse openly with any dragons within hearing, both understanding the dragons and being understood by them. Further, the orb upon command casts a charm that affects a single young dragon aged five years or less, of any type or scale color, the spell being so potent that the beast finds it difficult, if not impossible, to resist. Thus the dragon may be led into captivity or slain from surprise, if action is swift.
This orb has a mind of its own whose thoughts are devoted to wickedness and revenge. This is the weakest of all the orbs, and its mind is weak as well. Still, the user must have above-average intelligence and insight to maintain control over the globe, or else disaster results. This was sufficiently and tragically proven when Overking Erhart I allowed his eldest son to handle the Orb of the Hatchling in 98 CY; the orb proved too much for the youth, who evaded his father and threw himself over a parapet, dying of his injuries that evening. The orb was recovered in an undamaged state, of course, though it had fallen eighty feet to a stone-paved courtyard. After this, the orb was locked away beneath the castle until its theft only fifteen years later.
Beyond its ability to charm young dragons, this orb appears to confer a low degree of magical protection on the one using it. It also grants the user the ability to see heat sources in darkness out to forty yards, and it bestows the spell clairvoyance at least six times a day, at the user’s will. It is thus useful, but hardly a grand artifact.

Orb of the Wyrmkin
This remains one of the least known of the eight artifacts of its family. It likely confers the same communication powers of the next smaller orb but can charm dragons of slightly older ages. I would guess that it is four inches across. One of my sources refers to this orb as cursed but does not say in what way; the Suel hated to give away any secrets that an enemy might use against them, and they hated to admit to failure. We must pass this one by for now and move on.

Orb of the Dragonette
Interestingly, this orb is unmistakably mentioned several times in ancient Suloise literature. One wizard was said to have used the orb to fly over the countryside and scout for monsters and other enemies of the Suel Imperium, which the orb was capable of stunning. This five-inch orb vanished after the Rain of Colorless Fire and may still lie beneath the ash of the Sea of Dust.

Orb of the Dragon
This, like the previous orb, vanished without a trace after the fall of the Suel Imperium and probably still lies buried there. I discovered little about It, except that it was rarely used thanks to a flaw in its construction that killed one commander who used it. It is six inches in diameter.

Orb of the Great Serpent
Ah! This might have been the orb that Zagig himself used in that great battle in which he won his own dragon’s hoard. Several legends and tales about the Orbs of Dragonkind refer to one the size of a man’s head (this one would be seven inches, so its about right) that could blast enemies with waves of cold and ice, or turn aside the largest red dragon’s breath. A useful item to the Suloise long ago, no doubt! This orb is probably still at large somewhere in the Flanaess, but where, I cannot say.

Orb of the Firedrake
All the comments I made about the previous orb apply to this one, too. This one would be eight inches across, but I have found no records to distinguish it from the other. I assume from the title that it is effective against red dragons, but who can say?

Orb of the Elder Wyrm
Nine inches across, this orb was the largest one in the Suel Imperium at the time of its fall, and it had a black reputation. Though it had great powers by all accounts, and could kill any beast with but a word from the user, tales have filtered down that the orb was alive in some way and demanded blood for its favors. This is very possible, as I have seen notes that convicted criminals were attached to the army unit to which this orb was assigned, but no provisions were sent along for the prisoners beyond food for a few days. Were they executed by the orb or its user? It is possible. Even the commanders were loathe to use this device in the face of attacks by dragons, so its evil nature must have been great.

Orb of the Eternal Grand Dragon
I would love to say that I know something about this orb, but oddly even the Suloise records are sparse about it, and the Suloise loved to brag when they had something worth bragging about. There is a note or two to the effect that this largest of all orbs, ten inches across, was kept securely locked away most of the time, but this is understandable if it was terribly powerful. It is curious, however, that there is no mention of its use during any battle.

[From “The Orbs of Dragonkind," by Roger E. Moore. Dragon #230 8-16]

Explain to me again how the Great Kingdom was a beacon of all that was and is Good and Just.

A Beacon of All That is Good and Just

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Ivid the Undying, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Otto, by Sam Wood, Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2001
The Orbs of Dragonkind, by Larry Smith, Dragon Magazine #230, 1996

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11621 Slavers. 2000
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

Saturday, 18 April 2020

History of the South-East, Part 2: In the Shadow of Aerdy

“Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws,
and asks no omen, but his country's cause.”
Homer, The Iliad

A New Land
It is uncertain what those first Suel expected when they crossed the Tilva Strait, landing on the shores of the land that would later bear the name of the scion of Schnai, Eri-hep-Mona, who led them there. Hepmonaland was densely jungled. Riches, likely. Room to breathe, surely. Did they expect that other civilizations thrived there? Not likely.
They found the Olman, who they took to be southern Flan, dark of skin and straight of hair; then the Touv, darker still, almost ebony, yet blue of eye. Those peoples could not have been more different. Where the Olman fought among themselves, raiding and slaving and fighting among themselves, the Touv were organized and learned; and where the Suel found great temples to serpent gods amid abandoned Olman cities, they found the Touv joined in a great nation, The Kingdom of Kunda.
Unsure of either, the Suel kept largely to themselves. Mostly. A few mixed with the Olman and Touv; had they not, those fair-skinned newcomers would not have survived this land of jungle and disease. They built their cities along the coast, then inland, and ever so slowly, they adapted to their new land and lost touch with their original culture and history.
This not to say that they lived in peace.

-252 CY The Touv had never been at peace with the Olman. The found the Olman worship of serpent gods repulsive, and their sacrificing humans to those gods repellant. For good reason, for they too had a serpent god, an evil god by the name of Meyanok; and the worship they witnessed held up a mirror to their own darkest ways.
In -252 CY, a disguised priest of Meyanok worked his way into the inner circle of advisors to the [Kundali] Jolani prince and began to poison his mind and body. [SB - 50]

The Cult of the Serpent
Why? Because it is Meyanok’s way.
Meyanok, born of darkness and pain, is the progenitor of all other evil gods of the Touv pantheon. [SB - 40]
Priest and shamans of the serpent god are reclusive and don’t often deal with strangers, at least not openly. They work through agents, many of whom are charmed, to disrupt civilization and harm the worshipers of other gods, and have been known to make human sacrifices. [SB - 41]

-250 CY It was the beginning of the end of 1200 years of the Kingdom of Kundali.
[The Jolani] prince was so deluded that he believed that his other advisors and the king were plotting against him, so he declared his city-state independent of the Kunda Kingdom in -250 CY. Appeals and diplomatic measures from the capital were turned aside or twisted by the snake-priest, and the secession precipitated similar acts from Ichamamna and Byanbo. [SB - 50]

Barely checked resentment burst forth in two other Kunda city-states, and they also seceded.
Trouble within the capital prevented the king from acting, and his successor was unable to reunite the states. [SB - 37]

The snake priests also destroyed one of the northern cities by a magical famine; even now, the land is cursed and few willingly travel near it. The famine provided a distraction for the city-state of Ichamamna, which had long sought to take over the once Olman yuan’ti city of Xapatlapo. [An] army of Touv warriers stormed the Xapatlapo, but fell to traps and poison, while yuan-ti turned their friends and family into snake-men, as well. [SB - 37]

-246 CY Back on the Tilvenot Peninsula, the Scarlet Brotherhood was patient. And persistent. Within two hundred years of their having found purchase there, their careful whispers and guidance found a foothold, and then a home, and before long the directives of the Scarlet Brotherhood had almost completely subsumed the goals of the Suloise Council of Noble Houses.
By 5270 SD the council’s goals were almost entirely subsumed by Brotherhood directives, with most council representatives chosen by indoctrinated families. [SB - 4] (5270 SD)

 -245 CY A few of the Suloise Noble Houses fought to regain control of their lands and destiny, culminating in the Tilvanot Civil War. The three remaining independent Suel Houses attempted to overthrow the Scarlet Brotherhood, but they were doomed from the start. They had hoped to rally the other Houses, that those other Houses would see the truth that lay beneath the silky promises of the Brotherhood and join them in their bid for freedom of choice, but to no avail; the other Houses had been thoroughly seduced by the promises of manifest destiny and their innate supremacy.

Civil War
The last three Houses clutching at an independent identity attempted a coup in 5271 SD. The Tilvanot erupted in a brief civil war, which ended with a series of assassinations and two public demonstrations of the monks’ dreaded “quivering palm” ability, performed on the rebellion’s generals before their assembled troops. The surviving nobles of the three Houses were captured, tortured and executed as examples. [SB - 4] (5271 SD)

-243 CY The three remaining independent Suloise Noble Houses had fought a valiant, but ultimately doomed rebellion against the insidiousness of the Scarlet Brotherhood’s control. The other Houses should have joined them. Had they, the Suloise people might have followed a different path, a kinder, gentler path. But that is unlikely. They were always a cruel and haughty people, and the ideals of the Scarlet Brotherhood had long been theirs, as well. In any event, they did not. And the independent Houses fell. And then, so too did the rest.  And the Scarlet Brotherhood assumed formal control of Tilvanot government, calling the peninsula "The Kingdom of Shar." 
In 5273 SD the council was dissolved and the hierarchy of monks, assassins and thieves controlled the government as well as in deed. [SB - 4]

[The] Suel race continued to practice the evil deeds of their forbears. Enslavement of other races was an everyday practice. Holidays and celebrations were marked with ritualized torture. Dark sorceries were embraced to advance the cause. Such actions were performed in the most secret parts of the hidden city; the rare visitors from the outside world saw only a stern nation whose citizenry suffered from no more than patriotic extremism. Any visitor discovering too much disappeared, “volunteered for torture or to serve in the breeding programs for inferiors. [SB - 4] (5273 SD)

-240 CY The Harvest King, ruler of Kunda strained to hold his kingdom together. He tried diplomacy, but to decadence and snake worship had begun to infect his cities. He had no choice but to resort to force, for the evils of the serpent could not be tolerated. He raised his armies, and marched against the centres of the snake, where the Yuan-ti and the sauhagin walked without fear. Ichamamna fell to his wrath, but not Byanbo and Johan.
There were those states that remained loyal to the capital of Kundanol, even as their confederacy began to unravel.  (1169 TC)
The fragmentation of the [Kunda] Kingdom […] came as a disappointment to the Anatali, but they have maintained friendly relations with Kundanol and are cordial with the other city-states. They have increased their patrols near Alocotla, hearing reports that the snake-men are taking people for some dark ritual. [SB - 47,48]

-217 CY What of the Oeridians? More specifically, what of the Aerdi, the fiercest of those mighty peoples? It came to pass that the people of Aerdi had reached the end of the world and looked upon the sea that birthed the sun.
The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5]

In time, the Aerdi arrived at the shores of the great eastern waters, their long journey at an end. They named that vast ocean the Solnor (literally, "the birthplace of the sun"), and along its shores they founded a series of small states. These were largely tracts settled by individual noble houses of the Aerdi, such as the mystic Garasteth, the noble Cranden, the mercantile Darmen, the calculating Rax, and the militaristic Naelax. These small principalities accomplished little under their loose confederation, as they were individually unable to take on the Ur-Flan and Suel, so they quickly gathered under a single banner. [LGG - 23]

When the Aerdi completed their drive to the eastern coast of the Flanaess nearly a millennium ago, it became clear to most of them that their journey had finally come to an end at the shore of the Solnor. Their first permanent settlements were soon founded along the coast of the Aerdi Sea, between Pontylver at the mouth of the Flanmi and the Gull Cliffs in the north. After decades of battle with the native Flan and treacherous Suel, the Aerdi noble houses sought a place to call their own, and these places included settlements at Roland, Ountsy, and the largest of all at Rel Astra, the site of a small abandoned Suel settlement. [LGG - 93]                

-216 CY With most of the known world conquered, the greatest of the tribes of Oerid drew the others into its fold, becoming one nation.  In truth, they already were, and had been as they swept across the Flanaess. One House had risen to the fore, claiming lineage to Johydee. Whether that was true or not was debatable, but who could say? It might have. Indeed, most houses claimed Johydee as their mother. No matter. House Garasoth has risen to the fore, and to the throne; and those houses that might have contested the claim had long since bent the knee. And thus, Lord Mikar, scion of House Garasoth, became the first grand prince of Aerdy. (428 OR) 
In 428 OR (-216 CY), the scion of House Garasteth, Lord Mikar, became the first grand prince (equal to a king). He ruled a land now called the kingdom of Aerdy ("aer" meaning "sky" in Old Oeridian). [LGG - 23]

Empires need a capital from which to rule. But where? One might think the centre of their lands would serve best. But the Aerdy had gazed upon the sea that birthed Sol, and found the lands there to be temperate and beautiful. (428 OR)
In 428 OR (-216 CY), these small states finally united under a single banner, and the kingdom of Aerdy was born. Rel Astra was chosen as its capital. The scion of Garasteth was the grand prince of the Aerdi at the time, and he set about building an impressive seat of government. A grand palace was constructed in the heart of the city and heavy walls were erected to enclose what is known today as the Old City. A large keep adjacent to the shore housed the admiralty of the kingdom, though the interest of the Aerdy turned decidedly west over the next few centuries. [LGG - 93]

Did the Aerdi command all the Flanaess? No. Would they? No. Some lands were as fierce as they. Some harsh. Some lands were far removed and inaccessible. Or altogether unknown to the Aerdi. The truth is, some lands only added people to the fold, and little else, and were thus spared the benevolence of Aerdian rule.
The founding of the Kingdom of Aerdi in 5299 SD changed little in the Kingdom of Shar. A civilized neighbor to the north allowed the Brotherhood to trade for food and other resources, and offered them a foothold in the Flanaess where they could learn about the other forming nations. Over time, spies planted in the Aerdi kingdom moved to other lands, strengthening the Brotherhood’s information network. [SB - 4]

-194CY  Having reached the sea that gave birth to Sol, the host of humanity wondered, what lies there? Exploration of the Solnor Ocean beckoned. But such an endeavour was not for the feint of heart. It was vast. It seemed endless. And it was riff with dangers.
In eastern Oerik, some small but farsighted groups living near the Gull Cliffs of the coast developed some skill at maritime travel. The travelers were of mixed stock, Oerid and Flannae, and part of the newly formed kingdom of Aerdy. The persistent Aqua-erdians generated two major seafaring explorations, both of which successfully returned with news of land far eastward. [Aqua]

-171 CY The Flannae could only watch as the Aerdi flooded into the east, a relentless tide that had no ebb. They sought to parley with these newcomers, for there was an abundance of uncultivated land and room for all. But, the Aerdians saw the fertile lands of the Flannae and meant to take them for their own. The Flan sought to defend them, but their cause was hopeless compared with the fierceness and resolve of the Oeridians.
They clashed at Chokestone, and the Flan fell. (473 OR/ 5345 SD/ 1980 FT)

The Aerdi Cometh
The Battle of Chokestone
This place, and the lands around it, are deserted, not farmed by anyone. The site is that of a great battle between Aerdi men and a small Flan tribe in -171 CY. The Oeridians were easily triumphant, and an excessively brutal general ordered the torture and sacrifice of all surrendering Flan folk in thanks to Erythnul. The following day, the Aerdi army woke from its camp to find that the land for several square miles around had been stripped of vegetation. Only slate-like stone remained. As they trod upon the stone, it cracked as if it were brittle paper, releasing clouds of oily, choking smoke. Less than a third of the army managed to march away from the accursed area, and those who survived suffered lung infections and disease which brought their lives to very premature ends. From time to time since this slaughter, a huge black smoky serpentine shape has been spotted prowling the lands around Chokestone, slaying any who dare approach the land where the Flan were slaughtered. Astrologer-sages can predict this wandering; it occurs around once every 17 years, with the "snake" manifesting for […] days. At other times, mages will sometimes try to obtain some of the stone for use in making dust of sneezing and choking, but they invariably send servants to obtain it rather than risking entry themselves. [Ivid - 53]

-122 CY The Aqua-erdians struck out east across the Solonor Ocean.
Disenchanted by a warlike turn of events in their homeland, most of the remaining Aqua-erdians left Aerdy by sea, migrating eastward across the Solnor Ocean. Those who remained became the ancestors of the Sea Barons, now virtually independent, but swearing fealty to the Overking at Rauxes. [Aqua]

-110 CY The Battle of a Fortnight’s Length
The Aerdi struck north, for the land there was rich, the soil black, the woods tall. It mattered not a whit that the tribes of Nyrond had no wish to enjoy the wealth and security of Aerdy.
[The] Nyrondese cavalry was defeated by Aerdy forces commanded by nobles of House Rax, during the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length. Shortly, all the lands from the Harp River west to the Nyr Dyv swarmed with Aerdi famers, hunters, fishers, merchants, bandits, and soldiers. This conquest changed the character of the Kingdom of Aerdy, which saw its destiny as the rulership of all the Flanaess. [TAB - 57]

After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.
Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.
After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. Thereafter, Aerdy was known as the Great Kingdom, whose monarch held sway from the Sundi swamplands in the south, westwards along the shores of the Telfic Gulf and the Sea of Yar, to the Nyr Dyv and from thence northwards through the Shield Lands and beyond the Tenh. [Folio - 5] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)

-107 CY The Ur-Flan remembered the days of Vecna and Keraptis, and how the world quaked at the mere mention of their name. They chafed under the benevelance of those “good” and “righteous” people, the Aerdi. Who were the Aerdi, after all, but scavengers picking at the carcass of their once great nation? A menagerie of ill-equipped, and ill-prepared Ur-Flan insurgents attempted to assassinate the King of Aerdy by summoning a "winged horror."
It was their last fruitless gasp at freedom.
It occurred in the year 537 OR (-107 CY), when an attack upon the traveling train of the king of Aerdy was foiled by a group of young men, primarily woodsmen and farmers from a nearby village. Ur-Flan insurgents released a winged horror upon the royal tent city in an effort to assassinate the leader of their conquerors. The young men of the village thwarted the attack, at the cost of most of their lives. The king was so impressed with the courage of the survivors that he raised them up as his "Knight Protectors." [LGG - 157] (537 OR/ 5409 SD/ 2044 FT)

1st Century BCY
What remained of the Flan nations fell one by one. A few took up arms against the Aerdi, but for the most part, the Flan bowed to the inevitability of their fate. The Flan Kingdom of Ahlissa was one of the last to fall, and their lands conquered were later form nucleus of the South Province.
After the Aerdi first conquered the lands surrounding the lower Flanmi and founded the kernel of their empire along the Solnor Coast, their ambitions soon turned to the southwest, where great riches awaited. The Flan kingdom of Ahlissa was conquered in the [fifth century OR] and eventually became the core of mighty South Province. The lands farther south were controlled by the Suel, but a series a brutal wars brought regions such as Idee and Sunndi into the burgeoning Aerdi kingdom (as part of South Province) over the next century. [LGG - 80]

-46 CY   The Aerdi continued to march beyond Ahlissa, unto the Suel land of Onnwal. The blue waters of the Azure Sea beckoned them, and they, thike the Suel before them, understood manifest destiny. But Onnwal was not to be bowed easily. Their lands were as rough and rocky as they themselves, their command of the seas uncontested until then, but they were few against the tide of Aerdy, and after long and bloody conflict, their shores surcame to their inevitable fate.
In 598 OR (-46 CY), Onnwal was taken after a long and bloody conflict that ended with the establishment of Irongate and final control of the Headlands for the Aerdi. [LGG - 80]

c –9 CY  Could the conquest of Nyrond and Ahlissa and Onnwal have occurred without Leuk-O, or Lum the Mad, and their Mighty Servant and Machine? Or without the Orbs of Power they wielded? Whom can say? All one can say is that those two had taken a hand and the world had fallen to their power. Then they faded away. But not before leaving wonders and terrors in their wake, for all great powers leave such in their passing.
It was around this time that the last contact between the inhabitants of the Belching Vortex of Leuk-O and the hill folk of what are now called the Hestmark Highlands occurred. 
The folk of the Hestland Highlands hold many secrets, but perhaps none so enigmatic as the great portal known colloquially as the Belching Vortex of Leuk-O. Named for an ancient Oeridian general who is said to have entered the place and emerged with unheard of treasure. The Vortex appears as an undulating black, leprous membrane set against a sheer cliff face on the mountain known as Vashal-Tul in the language of the dwarves who once made their homes in the craggy hillsides nearby. In the days before the Kingdom of Aerdy, a small band of hill folk established a small colony at the foot of the membrane, which ancient texts refer to as a smooth opalescent barrier, soft to the touch but impenetrable even by magic. At some point, however, the gateway degraded, as did the village. Now, little more than eroded foundations can be found at the site, along with the time-buried remains of a people set upon by a terrible wasting disease. Leuk-O is said to have fallen victim to this illness, which caused his skin to turn sallow and his hair to fall from its roots.  Those who have visited the Vortex […] report a wasteland bereft of animal of plant life. Occasionally, it is said, the black membrane opens suddenly, expelling an invisible gas that can strip flesh from a man’s bones. [LGJ#1 - 6]

-1 CY      What of Shar, you ask? Shar remained a mystery. Because they wished to remain such. But they were aware of the Great Kingdom and its conquests.
Sent Forth in the Cause of Freedom
Even when the Great Kingdom swelled to its greatest size in 5516 SD under Overking Nasran, Shar was protected from land assaults by the Vast Swamp, and from naval attacks by the Brotherhood’s ships and powerful magic. [SB - 4]
They remained free. They sent out many of their most able to ensure they remained so.

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, The Scarlet Brotherhood, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Ivid the Undying, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Light-Patrol by wacalac
Serpent-Cult by northernhermit
Red-Army by femire
Yuan-ti by draggyness
Legio-X-Equestris by quintuscassius
Ambush by icerider098
Red-Hood by benedickbana

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11621 Slavers. 2000
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

Friday, 10 April 2020

History of the South-East, Part 1: A New Home

“A man who has been through bitter experiences
 and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.”
Homer, The Odyssey

The Blossoming of the Scarlet
What can one say of the Suel? They were clever. They were ambitious. They desired to rise to heights and power hitherto only known to the Grey Elves. And they did, even as the elves tried to limit what power might be known to them. Why, the Suel had asked? Had they not shown aptitude for architecture, for theatre and music and art, and magic? They implored the Grey Elves to reconsider. In response, the Grey Elves removed themselves from the lands of the Suel. And the Suel grew angry. The Suel found new allies, dark cousins of those once friendly Greys. And when those dark allies betrayed them, they sought power over those lesser peoples that dwelt around them. Then then over those further still, until they had mastery over all they surveyed west of the Crystalmists, the Hellfurnaces, the Barrier Peaks, and the Yatils. Those lesser peoples, the Bakluni, the Oeridians, they rebelled. Then came the War that would undo all of their great works. Or would it?

“The start of the Great War surprised no one. For longer than a year, raiders from both nations stormed across the Haut Range, pillaging and burning homes and farms on either side of the great mountains. In the spring of 5031 SD Emperor Ad-Zol sent nine thousand troops across the mountains to punish the black-haired northerners. They were met on the fields of Padyr by a comparable force sent by the Bakluni Padishah Ramif; after a pitched battle that lasted almost three days, the armies had annihilated one another. The handful of surviving warriors from the Emperor’s army retreated to their homeland and reported imminent invasion by the foul Bakluni, and the very air that my people breathed became charged with the fervor of war.”
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB - 2]

-448 CY    
The Year of Prophets
The Year of the Prophets. They read doom in the cards, the bones, and the tea leaves. Within the span of a generation the empire would fall, they predicted. Repent, they cried. Turn from your wicked ways, they plead, warning against worship of the Chained God, and warding against something they named Shothragot. To no avail. The masses laughed and turned their backs on the doomsayers. But it was plain in their eyes that their laughter was false. They turned their backs on their prophets because they knew their emperor was displeased, and they feared their emperor’s wrath more than their prophets’ doom.
Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The Emperor, Yellax-ad-Zol has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. [OJ11] (196 OR/ 5068 SD/1703 FT)

-447 CY    Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. He knew more than most, and heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d mysteriously vanished into the East a century earlier, and he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at his worship when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.
Fleeing the Kingdom
Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland.
[OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)

“Most remarkably, the emperor’s son had fled the year before this, accompanied by thousands of citizens loyal to him. The emperor sent the houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztti to bring back his son to face justice. The houses vanished, lost—no one knew why—to the lands to the east.”
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB - 2]

-446 CY The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor, he screamed, when he heard of his son’s betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor’s wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son’s absence.
 The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)

“By 5070 DD, the population of our cities were falling, far beyond the attrition to be expected from the war with the northerners. Many commoners and even a few minor noble houses escaped the conflict and moved east, across the Harsh Pass and into the lands beyond. The nobles would have liked their contemporaries to believe the move was influenced by tales of the fertile lands and great wealth beyond the Crystalmists, but the truth is that they feared powerful rival houses, who might take advantage of the extingencies of the war with the dark-eyed northerners to eliminate them.”
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB - 2]

-445 to -423 CY  The Zolites scatter the Flannae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. Zellifar carries with him two of the lesser Binders and the Chief Binder. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turned north, where they are met by regrouped Oerdians and fearful Flannae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. Many are lost and remained in the Amedio Jungle. They eventually [turn] back east and march toward what is now the Rift Canyon. [OJ11] (199-221 OR/ 5071 – 5093 SD/1706-1728 FT)

A Vision of Purity
-425 CY    Kevalli Mauk had a vision of purity. Had the Suel remained pure, the Suel would have remained strong. Had the Suel remained pure, they would have held dominion over all of the world. The long-passed emperor Zeeckar had understood that when he had looked upon his empire and saw that the blood of the Suel had become tainted, and knew that such taint had been why the Suloise Empire had been much diminished. He had declared his “War of Purity.” He had set aside those most pure, their aim to return their people to their rightful place, his Scarlet Brotherhood. They had failed. But they had endured. Kevelli would see to it that Zeeckar’s prophetic vision should come to pass.
“It was on the first day of they year 5091 SD that I presented my vision to the council of nobles. The Brotherhood of the Scarlet Sign, my vision revealed would be an organization whose sole intent was to prevent dilution of the virtues of our people. The war with the Bakluni did not prevent contact with their nefarious race, and the excursions from the rebellious Roka, Chebi and Hochebi, and visitors from the west and south, polluted our people with their flesh and their cultures. The Brotherhood would swear to uphold the ideals of the Suel culture, forswearing physical and mental corruption. Their purity would be the purity of the flame, tempting the pure, searing the unworthy and branding the inferior. Despite resistance from certain obviously tainted houses, the council and the king approved my plan and presented me with a mansion and funds for the use in creating this order.”
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB - 2] (5091 SD)

-423 CY    Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.
One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)

-422 CY    Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.
The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.
The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.
Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)

Lendore comes to the Spindrift Islands.
This group of islands has housed from time immemorial the strongholds of high-elven wizards and lords. They had little contact with humans until the arrival of the legendary Archmage, Lendore, who brought his fellowship out from the lands of the Suel Imperium in anticipation of the Invoked Devastation. Fleeing the impending disaster, the wizard and his band journeyed to the easternmost shores of Oerik, then further still, until they came at last to the Spindrift Isles. The Invoked Devastation occurred, as Lendore knew it must, but it was followed by a catastrophe he had not foreseen: the Rain of Colorless Fire and the destruction of the empire. [LGG - 68]

Kevelli Mauk, leader of the Scarlet Brotherhood, also heeded the warnings of the seven prophets. He gathered his servants and his ten most ardent students, and managed to escape to the Flanaess just before disaster hit. They crossed the Hellfurnaces and found those Suel who’d first fled to the Sheldomar Valley as the Great War began and had already begun to settle there. But those Suel had not held true to the Path of Purity, having already consorted with the lesser Oeridians. They were not entirely without use, Mauk found, for they had news of Zellifar-ad-Zol and those thousands who had followed him into the east. (222 OR/ 5092 SD/ 1727 FT)
The hour before the Rain began, Kevelli was overwhelmed by a premonition of doom; this supernatural warning gave him time to activate a now-lost artifact known as Lendor’s Matrix, an hourglass-shaped device that could temporarily suspend time and transport matter across great distances. He gathered his ten most ardent students their slaves and the Tome of the Scarlet Sign—the manifesto of the Scarlet Brotherhood—and used the Matrix to teleport to the western side of the Hellfurnaces, moments before the cataclysm eradicated the Suel capital and surrounding lands. [SB - 3]

Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike

The Rain of Colourless Fire
The Great War had reached its height. Thousands had perished, and thousands would perish still. Each revelled in their atrocities, citing moral and racial superiority, eager to cleanse the land of the filth that tainted it.
In the Suel Empire proper, the Suel mages gather their magical energies and cast the Invoked Devastation. No Bakluni cities survive this blast of magical energy. But Bakluni mages gather at Tovag Baragu, using the arcane powers of the Binders, and drawing upon the energies of their holiest site, withstand these energies and counterstrike with the Rain of Colorless Fire. The remains of this expenditure of energy are now called the Dry Steppes, and the Sea of Dust. The holders of all Four Binders are utterly destroyed but the binders themselves are not. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

When the Invoked Devastation came upon the Baklunish, their own magi brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire in a last terrible curse, and this so affected the Suloise Empire as to cause it to become the Sea of Dust. [Folio - 5]
The Suloise lands were inundated by a nearly invisible fiery rain which killed all creatures it struck, burned all living things, ignited the landscape with colorless flame, and burned the very hills into ash. [Folio - 26] 224_OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT

Thus ended the Age of Glory, the west sundered and burned, its glory under a blanket of ash.
When the Rain of Colorless Fire ended the Age of Glory and brought down the Empire, the tribes [of the Suloise] decided to seek their fate to the east, in the lands of the Flan. [WoGG - 27]

“The Bakluni wizards have wrought terrible fate on my homeland. Lights without color fell from the sky and burned everything to ash—people, homes, even the soil and the rock beneath. At last I understand the foreboding that consumed me this past hour and drove me to flee with a handful of students and slaves—it was a premonition of the death of my city and my people. Saved by Lendor’s Matrix, we now stand at the entrance to the Harsh Pass, watching the destruction of millions of men and women, the greatest empire of humankind, and five thousand years of history.
“I swear such a thing will never happen again. Never will my people be stained and damaged by the actions of an inferior race. We will travel east and find the scattered survivors of our great empire. My Scarlet Brotherhood will build the Suel empire anew. All who do not kneel to us will be crushed. We must move with haste, for the fires of my nation’s death-pyre move this way.”
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB - 2,3]

-419 CY    Long did Kevelli Mauk wander, harried by the migration of the Aerdy nation. Kevelli was not alone. He collected those Suel he found who shared his mind, those who understood the greatness of their people, and those disaffected by the Aerdy. He was herded ever east because whenever the Aerdy came upon he and his followers they recognized their former masters, and remembered their lot under the mastery of those cruel overlords, and drove him from those lands.
The Exodus
Four times [Kevelli and his followers] stopped, hoping to settle, but each time migrating Oeridians arrived and claimed [their] chosen territory. The Suel band was forced to flee, their numbers too small to fend off attacks, despite the skills of their guards and warriors.
The refugees struck south across a great swamp […].
Eventually the travelers emerged from the swamp, at the narrowest part of the Tilvanot (“south-hill”) peninsula. Liking the cool breezes and misty skies of the place, they continued south and came at last to the great mesa, where they found a colony of several thousand followers of the Suel Emperor’s sun Zellif, who had been living there since 2071 SD. Zellif’s people had claimed the peninsula as their own, driving away, beginning with, or enslaving the humanoid and Flan tribes there. [SB - 3]

Hesuel Ilshar

The colony built an amazing city [Hesuel Ilshar] on the plateau, imitating the architectural styles of their lost homeland. The
Tome of the Scarlet Sign was copied a dozen times; the manuscripts were passed to each Brotherhood recruit in turn for memorization.
[SB - 3]

While aloof and sometimes cruel, the new Suel nation—now known by the unassuming name Shar, meaning “purity”—was careful not to reveal its true intentions.
Suel from across the Flanaess continued to migrate into the Brotherhood lands; those that agreed with the Brotherhood philosophy stayed; others crossed the shark-infested waters of the Tilva (“southern”) Strait to the jungles of the continent to the south. [SB - 3]

-413 CY    The Suel had spread out. Few migrated north. They were a southern people, accustomed to gentle climes and fertile fields. Those who had migrated before the Rain fell, found other gentle climes and other fertile fields, some even going so far as to venture across the waters, settling in the jungles to the south. But they were Suel, despite their having fled the plagues and the wars of the west. They had displaced the Flan, just as the Aerdy were displacing them after the Rains. And they had displaced the peoples of the Amedeo and Hepmonaland. (5103 SD)
Zar was the first region of Hepmonaland to be settled by the refugees of the Suel Kingdom. Those who stayed here were the most stubborn and intractable of the lot; the more adventurous moved on, as did those seeking greater security from the people of the Falnaess. The city of Zar was founded in 5103 SD, little more than a cluster of rounded stone and wood buildings in a cleared space in the jungle. It grew as Suel refugees arrived and occasionally shrank as strange jungle diseases or infestations took their toll. [SB - 55]

c.  –412 CY          Those Suel who could not flee died as the Rains fell. But not all.
The Suloise [tribes] who entered the Flanaess after the Ruin of Colorless Fire were actually a number of once-prosperous noble families and their retainers. Being on holiday, they escaped the burning of Zinbyle, the ruined city in the Sea of Dust recently found by explorers from the Yeomanry. After the Rain died away, the survivors lived in barbarism, scavenging for food and stealing from the frocks of goat-herders in the foothills of the bordering Crystalmists. It was in such a condition a decade after the disaster that the great wizard Slerotin found them, mistaking them at first for actual savages.
Slerotin heard the entreaties of the Suloise survivors, who could offer him nothing but gratitude in return for helping them cross the Crystalmists to the rich lands of the Flannae and demihumans. I believe he gave them his aid purely to sate his own ego, for he was never known for his charity before, but perhaps I wrong him. in any event, Slerotin summoned his power and opened a great tunnel directly through over 70 leagues of solid rock. in this way did the Suloise enter the FIanaess with Slerotin, meeting some of their own kind who had earlier crossed the Kendeen Pass (later destroyed by a volcano) and settled along the Javan River. The “tribes” in time became organized clans and noble Houses. They grew in strength, preyed upon Flan and olve and dwur alike, and ran afoul of the Oeridian hordes. You know what followed then.
Seventeen Suloise “tribes," including the local goat-herders, braved the Passage of Slerotin to reach what is now the Yeomanry. An 18th group the Lerara, entered late. Further delayed by a fight between several nobles, the Lerara were trapped within the Passage when it was sealed. This little group of only 100-120 adults, with children and animals in tow, was forced to adapt to this dark land, thinking they were abandoned by the gods and cursed.
Excerpt from a letter penned by Elayne Mystica, of the Free City of Iron Gate (inscribed 585 CY) [Dragon #241 - 43,44]

-411 CY Kevelli Mak did not live long after leading his followers to the Tilvanot. He lived long enough, though, to have left his mark, for he and his followers seduced the hearts and minds of those who had settled there, and in time rose to their rightful place, guides to the Way of Purity, and in that role, they steered the course of those people for all time. (5105 SD)
Although Kevelli died in 5105 SD, his vision lived on. He was succeeded by his most talented student, Reshek Nes. Reshek followed her mentor’s lead and created a strict monk-like regime for the most talented students, building strength and focus through discipline and denial. [SB - 4]

-402 CY The Suel found Hepmonaland to their liking. The land was rich, and blessed with ample sustenance and resources. They were not alone; indeed, they found others, the Olman and their like, but these peoples there were primitive and though they might have once been great, they were no more. Thy were savages, unfit scions to their ancestors’ good fortune. The Suel soon spread out, taking what they would. (5114 SD)
Lerga was settled in 5114 SD by a group of Suel nobles led by Duke Medajar, a noble priest of Llerg. According to legend, the priest had a dream vision of a great stone bear, and his group of refugees spotted a great bearlike formation of rock on a hillside, Megajar declared a halt and proclaimed the spot sacred to the God of Force. Using stone plundered from abandoned Olman ruins, Medagar’s people built shelters for themselves sand established the city of Lerga. [SB - 52]

c.-400 CY              The Flan Ahlissan Kingdom was in full “decline” by this time. In the wake of the Ur-Flan and the devastating war with the elves, they had become a peaceful folk, having reverted to a tribal existence, content to tend their flocks and fields. They were no match for the coming Suel or Oeridians ... militarily. That is not to say that they were a helpless people, either. (244 OR/ 5116 SD/ 1751 FT)

-400 CY Those Suel who had remained in the Flanaess found themselves pitted against the Oeridians. They stood their ground, and they fought, much as the Flan had, and still did, but neither the Suel nor the Flan had hope of defeating the Oeridians. The Oeridians were fierce. The Oeridians were relentless. And in the end, the Oeridians were victorious. Those who pledged fealty were spared; those who did not, were not.
Standing Ground
The fierce Oeridian tribes hardly had matters all their own way. For two centuries, they fought the Suel and the fragmented humanoids for possession of the central lands of the Flanaess. The Oeridians incurred the enmity of the Flannae and demihumans of the lands as well. The arrogant Oeridians might have been overcome by this mix of forces, but for one thing: the Suel were far more unpleasant than the Oeridians were aggressive. The Suel invaders lied, cheated, stole, enslaved, pillaged, and killed out of hand. Over time, the Flannae and demihumans allied with the Oeridians to drive the Suel to ever more distant fringes of the Flanaess: into the northeastern Barbarian lands and into the southern jungles of Amedio and Hepmonaland. [FtAA - 3]

The success of the Oeridian domination of so much of the Flanaess was in part due to their friendliness towards the original demi-human peoples of the area—dwur, noniz, hobniz, olve—and their co-operation greatly strengthened the Oeridians. The willingness of the Flanae to join forces with the Oeridian armies also proved to be a considerable factor. Perhaps the biggest asset the Oeridians had, however, was the vileness of the Suloise - for the majority lied, stole, slew, and enslaved whenever they had inclination and opportunity. There were exceptions, of course, such as the Houses of Rhola and Neheli - late migrants who settled and held the Sheldomar as already mentioned. [Folio - 5]                

To the far north, four of the strongest and fiercest Suel clans managed to retain large stretches of ground as Suloise. The majority of the Suelites were pushed to the extreme south, into the Amedio Jungle, the Tilvanot Peninsula, the Duxchan Islands, and even as far as across the narrow Tilva Straight into Hepmonaland. [Folio - 5]

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Scarlet Brotherhood, Ivid the Undying, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
whispered-words-in-cherry-red by maegondo
GuildWars-2-Refugees by artbytheo
I-was-born-for-this by immp
The Rain of Colourless Fire, by Erol Otus, Folio, 1980
Seventh Plague of Egypt, by John Martin, 1823
Clearwine-RuneQuest by ranarh
Raistlin-portrait-2 by belegilgalad
Heroes-of-Bronze-Platea-479-BC by martinklekner

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer